Saturday, June 11, 2016

On Herd Immunity

I've been reading over at Kos for the last few months--I know, I know! Crazy.  But I can't stop myself. I had to abandon other sites where I usually chew the cud with my internet friends because of all the Bernie Love and Hillary Hate.  Now that we are at the end of the primary, although apparently we need to hush until Bernie accepts reality, women and AA voters, and especially women AA voters, are coming out of the woodwork to celebrate and to express how angry they are that their votes and their voters have been attacked, harassed, doxxed, insulted, and ignored throughout this primary.  Its not going away.  Just today I was listening to Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me and Peter Sagal was doing some shtick about how boring, old, tedious, and lacking in charisma Hillary Clinton was. He paused for a moment and then said, pro forma "Of course, it was a historic moment" and the lone woman on the panel shouted "Hell yeah!" and the audience roared its approval of her.  They all then joined in to talk about marketing "clothespins" for people to wear on their noses when they "have" to vote for Clinton.

This is by way of observing that it is going to take a really long time--if ever--for liberal and progressive white men to grasp what is going on.  If dKos is any example we are going to have to endure a whole lot of white male gnashing of teeth, sobbing, special pleading, and complaints about how dull she is, and how frumpy, and how stiff.  And that's just from people who are going to support her!  As for the Bernie dead enders they are even worse--I could pull up some of these comments but what would be the point?  They go like this "I'm a white man who lives in a safe blue city in a safe blue state and I am personally offended by drones/climate change/rumor about Hillary/wall street and I must withold my <strikethrough>precious bodily fluid</strikethrough> from her and her minions.  You people--you other people--do what you have to do but I never will.  You can imagine this said either from behind the walls of a pillow fort or from atop a fainting couch.

I dislike both types--both the ones who are grudgingly giving her the vote, or acting like its just tacky to be uncool enough to vote for her wholeheartedly, and the Bernie or Buster single issue voters.  These people are relying on a kind of political herd immunity. They are like people who don't get a vaccine that might save their life from an epidemic illness and who simply count on everyone else getting the vaccine to lower the danger to themselves.  They know that Hillary and Bill and Obama and everyone else in the Democratic Party is going to raise the money, fight the fight, do the GOTV, and then fight to run the damned country regardless of their single vote.  And they either believe that Trump getting in won't affect them, or that the rest of us will work our hearts out for Hillary and get her over the finish line and we will keep fighting for progressive causes and they can bitch from the sidelines.

Years ago, when I was considering moving my family to Canada to save my children from having to grow up complicit in Bush's war crimes, someone on a blog pointed out that doing so was abandoning everyone else in the country, who couldn't move, to their fate.  That withdrawing might be possible, it might be convenient, it might be good for me and mine--but it was an abdication of my responsibility as a citizen and as a neighbor to all those who couldn't afford to move.  I have never forgotten this post, and this insight has informed my political attitude ever since.  I have to vote, and I have to vote in every election, not just on my own behalf, or on that of my children, but for people who are not able to vote here (non citizens in the US, the rest of the world, people in the US who are being denied their vote).  And I have to vote, specifically, with their needs in mind.  Because there are many of them, and they come in many kinds--my vote can never be all about any single issue. Certainly its not just going to be about the Oligarchs or the economy.

In this election season so far we have seen women and African American voters come out and vote solidly for Hillary Clinton.  She is running an intersectional, progressive, campaign that puts women's issues, and LGBTQ issues, and AA issues, front and center.  That is the fact of the matter.  People are telling us the are experiencing existential dread--I know I am!--if Donald Trump gets in because he is going to be horrible for all the kinds of people who make up this coalition.  And yet I see things like this all the time:

Democrats and progressives would be wise to listen to Tiabbi’s warning, but they won’t.  The nomination of Hillary Clinton and her Wall Street coterie will only be another 4 years of paying lip service to progressive reform.   Worse, it will stunt the youthful idealism that Bernie tapped into, which is the future of the party.
Rather than treating Trump’s destruction of the GOP as an opportunity to continue the status quo, the Democrats should learn a lesson from it. The old, toothless GOP is gone, and in its place is something far more formidable — a re-awakening American nationalism and an awareness that the American worker has gotten a raw deal from corporate globalism.    Rather than dismissing Donald Trump with tired accusations of bigotry , why not address some of the real issues he has raised affecting national security and the economy?   Bernie was trying to do this, and Clinton, for many reasons, is incapable of it.  Ironically, with Bernie gone, the best outcome for progressives may be a Trump victory in November.    

This guy may be a troll but there are plenty of others, including Matt Taibbi who he is riffing off of, who make essentially the same argument.  I think it is because right wing has done a great job of causing people to forget 8 years of Bush.  And the left wing has helped by concentrating fire on Obama and on Clinton rather than on Bush and the Republicans.  Obama was castigated for not being able to fix all of Bush's mistakes, Hillary for being SOS to Obama (and thus part of the establishment cabal) and for participating in Bush's Iraq War.  But everything else that happened under Bush--the economic dislocation, the racism, the war on women is ignored in this story as it is ignored as it is happening right now.   We can't let the soi disant progressive left or last bastion of hipster white boy power do to Hillary Clinton what they have happily done to Barack Obama.  That is: support them (whether weakly or strongly) during the campaign when it is expedient to do so and then sabotage them immediately upon election.

So I'm going to go back to this notion of herd immunity and beg people to think before they selfishly vote their ego.  For herd immunity to work, for the most vulnerable parts of our body politic to be protected from disease, everyone who can get the vaccine must get the vaccine. Babies, children, old people, pregnant women, sick people--these are all people who have compromised or vulnerable immune systems. Often they can't get the vaccine.  They rely on herd immunity to protect them from epidemic diseases sweeping through society.  Anyone who is healthy enough to receive the vaccine owes it to everyone around them to take it.  Anyone who has the freedom to vote, the ability to vote, the luxury to vote owes it to the rest of us to vote in this election, for the Democratic nominee. The health and safety of the entire country depends on it.

Cross posted at No More Mr Nice Blog


  1. Hey, Aimai. I saw you at DK doing a fine job, as always. I don't know if you noticed that the person who more or less chased me off LGM for awhile has also been at DK going after Hillary supporters (surprise!). Anyhow, good post, and I'll keep coming around. ChrisTS

  2. The HTML tag for showing a lineout is strike and /strike, not strikethrough and /strikethrough.

    I didn't use the angle brackets, so the words would show and not execute.

  3. Good on you for making the vaccination argument. I've been ruminating on the free-rider issue because I have family members who are not only die hard Sanders supporters but are likely to drop in on me without notice or consent and then complain that there's no food in the house. "No free motel for free riders!" I tell myself, but this is my sister.

    The way things are going, it's not outside the realm of possibility that a time will come when she'll agree that I'm a better feminist than she is. Especially if Warren is VP.

  4. Excellent post and excellent way of drawing parallels between BernieBusters and anti-vaxers (their not-quite-of-this-world quality). Yeah, I've also had it with the whole perception of Hillary as stolid and uncool. It's a bit sad that I felt as defiant in putting up my Hillary stickers and signs before the CA primary here as I did with my Kerry/Edwards signs while I was living in TX.

  5. Thank you, BDjojonegoro, I appreciate the comment. And I, too, have yet to put on my Hillary Stickers and I'm in a Blue City in a Blue State. But after I put on my Obama sticker years ago I used to get strange, hand written, notes stuck under my windshield complaining that the Democrats and Unions were evil. This went on for months, and they were clearly left by a Republican walking down my street past my car and finding it an enormous provocation.

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